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Thursday 30 June (Asteroid Day) saw a round-table discussion in the great dome of the La Palma Observatory Roque de los Muchachos.
This was streamed live to the venue at Teneriffe. Discussed were planetary defence in view of Asteroid Day, abrupt climate change and science communication. An interesting discussion, very well lead by Russell (Rusty) Schweickart, but without clear results as could be expected.

Friday 1 July we first had organised a private excursion to the Teide Observatory in the morning, and in the afternoon it was the last day of STARMUS 2016 with the SONIC UNIVERSE CONCERT held in the Auditorio de Tenerife Adán Martín in Santa Cruz. This was a very special concert with performances by:

Sarah Brightman & Tenerife Symphony Orchestra at special request of Stephen Hawking,
ANATHEMA with Stephen Hawking himself participating in their first song,
Chris Hadfield & Rick Wakeman Space Oddity (David Bowie),
Rick Wakeman Life on Mars (David Bowie).

The  Stephen Hawking Medal Ceremony recognizes the contribution to science communication across different media, whether in writing, broadcasting, music, film or fine art- Joined by Stephen Hawking, Brian May, Alexei Leonov and Garik Israelian the following awards were presented:

In the Science category to Jim Al-Khalili, physicist, writer and broadcaster, for his treatment of complex physics concepts through science documentaries,

The Medal of Arts to Hans Zimmer, film and television composer, for the music to Interstellar, a science-fiction film with credible physics,

In the Category of Film to The documentary film, Particle Fever, directed by Mark Levinson and produced by David E. Kaplan, Mark Levinson, Andrea Miller and Carla Solomon, for insights into the life and work of physicists at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Culminating in the discovery of the Higgs Boson.

The concert concluded with the amazing composition The Warped Side of the Universe by Hans Zimmer. This was introduced with a presentation by Kip Thorne the expert on Black Holes, supported by Paul Franklin & Oliver James who did the visual Effects of the film Interstellar. Guest Artist was Brian May.

With some final remarks by Garik Israelian the STARMUS 2016 Festival was closed.


STARMUS 2016 has been a truly unique experience. In contrast to many scientific conferences I have participated in, this festival celebrated science across the board. Of course Astronomy and Space Exploration were central, but also economics, environmental science, biology, etc. were represented while attention was drawn to the connections with art, music and even science fiction.

We were inspired by a stellar line up of speakers, among which eleven Nobel Laureates and seven cosmonauts/astronauts, giving their latest visions and results and who mingled very well throughout the festival as a whole, making this a unique event in many ways.

Famous people are often (mis-) quoted, but let me finish with a true quote from Steven Hawking who stood central at STARMUS 2016:

"Much of my life's work has been to encourage young people in the study of cosmology and astrophysics and to help inspire them to better understand our Universe and beyond".

This message fits very well on this website that is dedicated to education in Astronomy and Space Sciences. We hope that these reports from Tenerife carry across to our site visitors some of the inspiration that STARMUS 2016 gave.

Erik Vermaat


A few of my own photos: Auditorio de Tenerife Adán Martín outside and inside; in great company with my daughter on Tenerife (background El Teide right and the Observatorio del Teide left on top of the hill)


More photos from Starmus likely to come on Facebook

Get a taste of STARMUS 2016 on Youtube:

(para algunos sería de ayuda si usted entiende algo de español).


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